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Saraki clears air on EFCC fraud allegations, invitation

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has said that his invitation by the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) was basically to clarify the allegations raised against him while serving as the governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011,

Saraki clarified that he visited the commission willingly and that none of the anti-graft agency officials visited and arrested him from his house in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.

Speaking on behalf of the former lawmaker, his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in a statement made available to newsmen, confirmed that his boss visited the commission’s office and that he answered some questions put to him by the law enforcement agency officials.

During the interrogation, Olaniyonu hinted that Saraki assured the commission that he had nothing to hide and would always make himself available to clear all issues that may require his attention on.

He said: “Dr. Saraki visited the office of the EFCC to clarify any issue that the commission may have wanted to raise with him. He was never arrested and he is at home right now.

“It will be recalled that following the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on the Fundamental Human Rights case filed by Dr. Saraki during the period of the former Chairman of the EFCC which precluded the commission from investigating him until the matter is dispensed with, the commission at the last hearing on July 14, 2021, pleaded with the judge that the order was preventing them from doing their job.

“Following this complaint, Dr. Saraki, as a responsible citizen, on his own volition approached the commission that at the earliest convenient date, he was willing to visit the commission’s office and clarify all issues they might want to raise with him”, Olaniyonu added.

In the court case referred to by Olaniyonu, the EFCC was said to have dragged him to court after Saraki was found to have allegedly engaged in theft and laundering of public funds using a network of proxy companies.

To prevent the court case from continuing, Saraki had filed two suits before Justice Taiwo Taiwo to challenge the action of the EFCC were marked FHC/ABJ/CS/507/19 and FHC/ABJ/CS/508/19 respectively.

The Judge’s ruling on these cases had previously been the basis on which Saraki had continued to allegedly evade invitation and questioning from EFCC.

Justice Taiwo, who was the presiding judge, ruled on an ex parte application filed along with the substantive suits and ordered the anti-corruption agency and other five respondents to the suits to stay action on the probe pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the applicant.

Aside from that, the court further directed all parties including EFCC, the Nigerian Police, and other security agencies to maintain the status quo as well as suspend any probe.

“By the provision of Order 4(3) of the Fundamental Rights Civil Procedure Rules, 2009, the court may, if satisfied that the applicant may be caused hardship before the service of an application where liberty or life of the applicant is involved hear the application ex parte upon such interim reliefs as the justice of the application may demand.

“There is no doubt that in making the interim reliefs or orders, the court is guided even in the exercise of its discretion judicially and judiciously applied by the law and statutes.

“I am of the view, after due consideration of the aforesaid, that this court ought to make the order being sought by the applicant pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion on notice,” Taiwo had ruled.

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